MUSC cautiously optimistic about COVID-19 trends


CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Friday that 1 in 5 adults is now fully vaccinated in the state of South Carolina and over 1 in 3 adults has begun their vaccination journey.

According to Dr. Michael Sweat, the leader of the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project, the state of South Carolina has reached an approximated 61% coronavirus immunity. That percentage consists of about 25-26% from being vaccinated and then about 35% from natural immunity which is achieved through contracting the virus.

Dr. Sweat said for the Lowcountry, immunity is slightly lower than that at 52%. For the Tri-County area, half of that percentage is coming from vaccination while the other half is due to natural immunity.

With 40 plus percent of individuals vulnerable in our local area, both MUSC and DHEC are focused on vaccinated immunity as studies suggest it lasts much longer than a natural immunity and is safer. 

Dr. Brannon Traxler, the Interim Director of Public Health with DHEC, said, “studies have shown that the immunity due to vaccination, lasts at least 6 months and probably much longer and these COVID-19 vaccines give higher levels of antibodies than natural infection does.”  

But still, the case numbers are not necessarily where medical professionals want to see them at. Dr. Sweat said as of Friday, there are roughly 18 cases for every 100,000 people, and he would prefer the count much lower.

Dr. Sweat attributes the relatively high case count to younger individuals as he said they are becoming the most infected group. This is due to the fact many of the variants are showing harsher effects in the age group. Even more, this is a result of the more elder population having mostly already been vaccinated.

He went on to note that the secret to getting back to normal is to get vaccinated. Additionally, once the U.S. has reached its goal of 85 to 90% goal of herd immunity, we’ll have to focus on global vaccination efforts to ensure no more new variants pop up.

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